Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Color Collaborative: October: Halloween


It's almost Halloween! I look forward to this day every year. Halloween memories run strong for me: orange and black jack-o'-lantern buckets, popcorn balls, enough candy to last until Christmas. My first costume was Tweety Bird, one of those vinyl pull-overs, printed with the bird's yellow body, worn with a plastic mask that made me sweat and sweat. Later, I was a witch for a few years and after that, a "bum," or a "punk rocker," which were basically the same costume - old, ripped jeans, a big, baggy top, crazy hair; smudgy cheeks for the "bum," smudgy eyes for the "punk rocker." In college, Halloween was party after party, dorms and ancient walk-up apartments, dark and smoky, Michael Jackson's "Thriller" played on a hundred different stereos.


I haven't outgrown my love for Halloween. I love carving pumpkins and decorating the house (we like a cute, fun Halloween these days, not so much a scary one). And candy - oh, candy. Weeks before the day, we buy our first bag of candy corn. We are snobs: Brach's only! Candy corn is comforting in its sameness - sturdy yellow base, orange in the middle, teeny white wedge on top, familiar vanilla-honey taste. The Bear and I eat it at night, nibbling slowly, joking morbidly about what it does to our bodies. But we can't resist - to me, Halloween is candy corn. Overly sweet and garishly bright, it only appears once a year and it holds strong memories. We had count-the-corn-in-the-jar contests in school, back when you could still hand out candy in a school. The winner got a big handful, but the rest was saved and handed out piecemeal, two or three pieces at a time, over the remainder of the school year. Sometimes it was a prize for learning our spelling words or "times tables" (especially those darn 9's and 7's).


Halloween costumes are on my mind by August. Now that my children are older and I have more time, I try to make their costumes. They can usually wear them for a couple of years, with minor adjustments for growth. I wear a costume too - I'm a black cat every year. I wear a black shirt and black leggings and clip on a black, furry tail. Then I paint on some whiskers and don my black cat-ears headband. Meowwww! My GB and I go together - she's a little gray mouse, all soft and fuzzy in a thick gray sweatshirt with her mouse-ears headband and a black mousy nose and whiskers too. I chase my little gray mouse and eat her up in a hug. My big black spider boy falls prey too. This year, he'll wear a mask with silver glitter and red and blue lights - spooky futuristic spider is watching you!
 

On Halloween, we wait for that slice of the night just before dusk, late enough but not too late, and then we're off! We leave our glowing jack-o'-lanterns behind on the front walk and we hit the streets in search of Halloween adventure. The streets are full of neighbors. There is pinon smoke in the air; it's cold enough for fires now. We circle the blocks, greeting costumed friends - sometimes we need to guess at who is underneath. We stop to say hello to the couple who serve hot dogs in their driveway. We pet familiar dogs and sneak a peek into foyers and living rooms - kilim rugs, lighted lamps, dinner smells. The streetlights switch on; the space between them feels dark and empty. We hurry through the dark stretches, scurry past dark houses. We feel like we're flying up and down the streets, laughter and sugar carrying us aloft. The western sky fades gradually, blazing pink and orange at the horizon, pinprick stars appearing one by one. City lights sparkle on the black-velvet mesa. Laden with candy, we finish our circuit. There's a crisp breeze at our backs as we turn east and head up the hill toward home.

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 Don't forget to visit the other Color Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts. Just click on the links below: 

Annie at Annie Cholewa 
Sandra at Cherry Heart 
 and October's guest poster, Steph at Woolythyme

What is The Color Collaborative?
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a color related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about color in new ways.

39 comments:

  1. It sounds like you have a lot of fun!!! Love your carved pumpkins!!!! Happy halloween and hope you have another good one this year!!
    Love
    AMarie
    xxx

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  2. It sounds as if you have a lovely family day, and well done you for making all your own costumes. The picture of the two of them together is really sweet. The pumpkins are beautifully carved, they look so effective all together. I hope you have a good day tomorrow. CJ xx

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  3. Love the pumpkin carving! Have a lovely Halloween and I hope you collect lots of sweets :)

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  4. When I was young, Halloween didn't exist here in continental Europe. Slowly it "blew" over from the US, but only the "commercialized" version of it... Just the decoration, but the whole tradition behind it is lacking,.. Too bad, I wish we would have the history of it as well...

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  5. What a great post, such fun you obviously love Halloween. We don't really bother over here which is a shame. Have a great Halloween and make some wonderful memories.

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  6. how lovely to have a community where halloween is such fun !

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  7. Whilst Hallowe'en trick or treating has become more popular here in the UK in recent years, something seems to have got lost in translation! It seems much more commercialised over here (as Ingrid said). Much less of a fun, party thing and some groups seem to make little effort to dress up. I've even had teenagers knock on the door and expect to be given money! Out of interest, at what age in your area do children stop trick or treating, Jennifer?

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  8. Oh, Jennifer, I LOVED this post. I really feel that, had I grown up where you did, Halloween would be a major deal in our household. I wish I had these memories and cultural references! We don't have anything like Halloween candy here, but I wish we did, it sounds delicious. Enjoy the day! x

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  9. It sounds like you all have a fabulous time. I think you get so much more out of these type of events when you put time in to them, and you obviously do with those fabulous costumes. I remember you writing about candy corn before, we don't have that here, I'd love to try it.

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  10. Lovely post Jennifer, I feel like I'm trick or treating with you. You're making memories that your children will look back on with fondness in years to come!
    Vx

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  11. I loved your descriptions in this post Jennifer and your children look fantastic all dressed up for trick or treating. I do love the sound of that candy corn!
    Marianne x

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  12. I loved joining you for this trip to halloweens past and present! Halloween is so much more of an event in America than it is here (although the shops here are doing their best to get us to catch up!) but it's lovely to hear about it first hand and feel the joy of growing up with it.

    S x

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  13. Great Halloween pics :0) Violet and I are spending today preparing for Halloween. We've just finished making some Chocolate Brownies. Then we'll be decorating the living room, making her a Black Cat costume and then carving our pumpkin. We don't go trick or treating, but it's fun to dress up and spookifying the house.
    Have lots of fun.xx

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  14. A great display of Jack-o-lanterns, Jennifer, very spooky. I have never had candy corn, but I must say it looks and sounds pretty and delicious. Love your costumes, and have a great time treat or treating. Happy Halloween to all the little bears.

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  15. I know I say it every time, but I do love these color collaborative stories... so elegsntly writen and evocative! The comment about the darn 7's and 9's made me laugh... I will never forget my 7's after the hours of tears trying to learn them! I hope you have a wonderful halloween! x

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  16. It sounds so much fun Jennifer, have a really great Halloween,
    Kate xx

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  17. Sounds like great fun Jennifer, Have a great Halloween! :) xx

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  18. I always dress up, too!!!! I'm a boo-tiful witch with a funky witch's hat that I continue to embellish every year. It's quite full by now.....almost too full to add anything, but it wouldn't be Halloween if I didn't! Hope you all have a fun-filled, candy-filled, romp through the neighborhood tomorrow!

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  19. I really like the look of those sweeties. I live in a town that will don fancy dress at the drop of a hat, so Halloween is a big deal. I loathe dressing up. I just.don't.get.it. This year is Olly's first proper Halloween party. He is beyond excited, although I envisage being back home within five minutes when it all becomes too scary for him!
    Lovely post.
    Leanne xx

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  20. What a fun post, and it takes me back to my own childhood - which, granted, took place a good couple of decades before yours, but some things never change! :)

    Candy corn - mmmm. I always eat too much and then wonder why I didn't stop sooner. Somehow the other colours are never as satisfying as the original orange-yellow-white. Though the chocolate ones run a close second....

    Have a great time with your Mouse and Spider.

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  21. Jennifer, have you seen this recipe for homemade candy corn?

    http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-homemade-candy-corn-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-99717

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  22. Hi Jennifer! This is Ana from www.anaediblecomplex.com! I look forward to your posts and love all your pics! I was wondering if there's a way I can get in on the color collaborative movement? It's such a fun project!

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  23. What a sweet post. Like you, I'm a candy corn snob. I'm that way with jelly beans too, at Easter, and sadly the brach's jelly beans are getting harder and harder to find. And you've made me realize -- I can't remember what costumes I wore as a child. I know I DID dress up because I distinctly remember the candy bags full of candy, but what characters did I choose? Hmmm ... I must call my sister and see if she remembers.

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  24. Your writing is amazing - always brings me along on your journeys. I loved Halloween as a kid and when my kids were little, too. Now that we're empty nesters, it's not exciting anymore. And after Phil died, we just didn't have it in us to answer our door to cute little kids and pass out candy. It was too painful. Now we're able to do so again, and we'll be doing it tomorrow night. Our weather is so iffy here in late October though. You never know if it'll be freezing cold - and sometimes with rain or snow with those temps, too - or warm and sunny. So far the weather forecast is saying high of 42 and very windy. And down to 28 at night. So, we'll see. If I have leftover candy, it is going to work with Brian - otherwise, I will eat it all! Oh, and I'm one of those who hate candy corn. Never even liked it as a kid. It makes for pretty jar fillers though. ;-)

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  25. Such outstanding memories you have of Halloween! Your kiddos are lucky to be able to have this experience with such a fun and thoughtful mama! Loving those pumpkins up there as well friend! Have a wonderful night tomorrow! Nicole xo

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  26. I love what a positive and happy time your family has.. I have good memories of my childhood Halloweens. It's a fun time! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  27. I think I would love to celebrate Halloween with you! I would also love to tuck into candy corns, I have never tasted one but you make me want a bag full right now. Enjoy your celebrations. xx

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  28. I think you are just better at Halloween on your side of the Atlantic than we are on ours ... you have me longing to join you :)

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  29. Our trick or treat is tonight. We live in a college town so they make trick or treat on a different night due to drunk college students :) My kids are still allowed candy at school, they had a party today and they brought their candy home with them. They were much stricter right after Jamie Oliver came here, now they are a little more lax :)

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  30. Sounds like it's lots of fun, enjoy the celebrations, here the pumkin is carved and I've made some Spooky Bunting but that it's so far, tomorrow I need to stock up the cauldron with sweets. Have a great time.
    Clare x

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  31. We are trick-or-treating tonight in a Halloween-friendly suburb down the road even though it's generally not a big thing here in Australia. Seriously though one of my stand out childhood memories was visiting my relatives in Texas over the Halloween/Thankgiving period when I was about 10 - getting dressed up and walking the streets and doing the pumpkins was so much fun. Hope you have a great Halloween this year x

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  32. Your Halloween sounds great fun. I will not be going out, my daughter is off by herself, but maybe I could dress up to answer the door to the littlies. A cat is a good one.... not too scary.... I can do that. Reading these posts is getting me psyched up or tonight.. Thank you x

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  33. I love your jack-o- lanterns! They look sweet and funny instead of scary which I like. We didn't have halloween back home so I didn't grow up celebrating it. And it's still not a big thing for our family at the moment. Maybe when the kids are older we'll get into halloween & hopefully ours will be more like yours-- cute, not scary... Have a spooky one! Enjoy! x

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  34. I was very happy to be able to buy and bring back Brachs candy corn this year, I am eeking it out though. xx

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  35. Sounds like you are really celebrating helloween! :-) Hope you had a wonderful day yesterday!

    Here in Germany, Helloween starts to become a tradition (brought in by the shops) - it was very cute to see some of the kids in their costums yesterday!

    Take care
    Anne
    http://crochetbetweentwoworlds.blogspot.de

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  36. Your pumpkin lanterns look great Jennifer. This year is the first for a very long time that we've not carved a pumpkin, probably because the girls haven't been here, and I've missed it. Hope you had a very happy Halloween and have a great week.
    Jane xx

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  37. Hope you had a super halloween and collected lots of sweets. I think it'd be such fun to have halloween in the US one day. xx

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